News Worms
News Worms

Hamilton's Shanghai love affair continues - Chinese Grand Prix in numbers

Lewis Hamilton said he is revelling in the fight with Sebastian Vettel for the Formula One world championship after he beat the Ferrari driver into second place at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen produced a magnificent, typically daring drive to work his way from the back of the grid at the start to finish third ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in a gripping battle.

"From the get-go I felt I had the pace to control the race from the front", Lewis explained. "But if it wasn't for the Safety Car it would have been a flat-chat race against Sebastian with just a couple of seconds between us the whole race, probably".

Fifteen cars finished Sunay's race, with neither McLaren making it to the flag.

By then Hamilton was some seven seconds clear of the Ferrari.

Ricciardo, despite harassing Verstappen for the final part of the race, finished fourth with Raikkonen fifth and Valtteri Bottas, who spun under the safety auto, recovering to sixth.

Marchionne added that the safety auto, which was brought out after Antonio Giovinazzi crashed on the start-finish straight, probably cost Vettel victory. Without the Safety Car the story of the race should be different. "He threw it away", said team boss Toto Wolff.

It was a key victory for Mercedes, which headed into the race second place in the overall standings following an upset victory by Ferrari in Australia last month.

The early activation of the VSC, when Lance Stroll was inadvertently punted into the gravel by Sergio Perez, offered what Ferrari thought was a chance to make an immediate switch to slick tyres and jump Mercedes.

"I believe that had been previously discussed", he said. "Nine cars is quite a lot in one lap, but of course very happy that it worked". With Vettel changing for dry tyres, the advantage lay with him. So for us it is really good news we had another race where we were really close and were able to put some pressure on. "He [Vettel] was closing the gap but I managed to stay ahead". "It was a good race".

The battle for the victory at the close was very much a two-horse race beetween Hamilton and Vettel; however, with the Briton coming out ahead of the German, having taken pole into the race.

The four-times world champion found himself bottled up behind Ricciardo and his slower team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, costing him valuable time. His tires now at the end of their life, Verstappen pitted one lap later, emerging in sixth place on another set of super-softs.

Yes, the triple world champion led all 56 laps of the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday as he won for the 54th time in his F1 career, but without the arrival of a safety vehicle period early in the race, he would not have had such a straightforward afternoon.


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